GBF Newsletter Winter 2018

2 | WINTER 2018 | GBF.ORG Georgian Bay Forever is a community response to the growing need for major research and education to sustain the Georgian Bay aquatic ecosystem and the quality of life its communities and visitors enjoy. We help monitor the Bay’s well being, throughout the seasons, year after year. We fund the research needed to protect the environmental health of Georgian Bay and the surrounding bodies of water. Using our research findings, we inform and educate the general public and governments about threats to environmental health and propose possible solutions. Through workshops, seminars and online, we are educating the Georgian Bay community. By teaming up with reputable institutions, we enhance the credibility of our research and strengthen our ability to protect what’s at stake. Georgian Bay Forever is a registered Canadian charity (#89531 1066 RR0001). We work with the Great Lakes Basin Conservancy in the United States, as well as other stakeholder groups all around the Great Lakes. Deeply rooted and broadly drawn, Georgian Bay Forever is steered by lifelong devotees of the Bay. We are committed advocates, educators, environmentalists, realists, idealists, and of course, residents. DIRECTORS Executive Director David Sweetnam OUR CONTACT DETAILS Georgian Bay Forever PO Box 75347, Leslie St., Toronto, ON M4M 1B3 tel: 905-880-4945 You can reach David Sweetnam, our Executive Director, at or at 905-880-4945, ext 1. Canadian citizens may send their donations to the address above. U.S. citizens wishing to make a donation to support our work can do so by giving to: Great Lakes Basin Conservancy PO Box 504, Gates Mills, OH 44040-0504, USA This newsletter is just a snapshot of our work. For the most up-to-date information on our projects, longer versions of newsletter articles and breaking news about Georgian Bay, please become a regular visitor to our website and Facebook page. GBF.ORG Design by Key Gordon ( ) Editor: Helen Bryce Content curator: Heather Sargeant Follow us on Adam Chamberlain Anne Randell, Chair Derek Bowen Doug Heintzman Erwin Stuart Janet Burt Jennifer Ferguson Laren Stadelman Neil Hutchinson Paul Emond Peter Singer Terry Clark IMPORTANT NEWS IMPORTANT & ONGOING PROJECTS Preserving and protecting Georgian Bay is at the heart of what GBF does to maintain the health, safety and security of its waters for generations to come. A snapshot of our projects follows. Please consider becoming a supporter today at — your generosity enables our work. PROTECTING ECOSYSTEMS Fighting invasive species and restoring wetlands For more than five years, GBF has been mobilizing communities across the Bay to eliminate Phragmites , an invasive reed that threatens coastal wetlands. In the summer of 2017, GBF hired five students in partnership with communities to help tackle more severe areas with exponential results. Find informa- tion at: IDENTIFYING HOT SPOTS IN NEED OF PROTECTION Ontario is unique in Great Lakes jurisdictions in allowing net-pen aquaculture in public water. We need to understand more about how its expansion will impact freshwater ecosystems. In 2017, GBF reviewed freshwater research on aquaculture impacts —most of which was outdated due to industry changes. GBF partnered with the University of Guelph who used bio monitoring processes to prove that net-pen feed was being absorbed by two native pelagic fish species (one top and one intermediate predator). Several questions regarding fish health, species transfer and its impacts need to be answered through more research. REVOLUTIONIZING WATER QUALITY In order to build on the work that has already begun with partners like the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve to standardize more than 15 water quality protocols in Eastern Georgian Bay, GBF is now seeking support for an autonomous underwater vehicle . This technology is the next step in revolutionizing water quality testing for Georgian Bay and creating high-resolution data maps of watersheds, or Digital Elevation Models. It also can measure a number of chemical and physical parameters, allowing critically important predictions to be made that model the impacts of climate change, water levels, development, spills, sewage outflows, septic failures, bacterial contamination and also the success of conservation measures. At the same time, Georgian Bay Forever will continue efforts to find the latest research on the impacts of, and solutions for, microplastics and combined sewage overflow pollution into Georgian Bay. WATER LEVELS Creating climate resilience by providing structural solutions for adaptive manage- ment in the Great Lakes GBF retained the services of AECOM, a highly respected global engineering firm, to assess and recommend contemporary climate resilient structural options to mitigate plausible future extreme water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron and Georgian Bay. A summary of the report is available at: water-levels/creating-climateresilience/. With the report complete, our efforts will turn to highlighting its findings for the International Joint Commission and the two federal governments, in hopes that they will agree to support detailed design work on these alternatives to better understand their potential impact on existing lake level control plans, procedures and structures. EXPECT UPDATES ON THESE PROJECTS IN THE SPRING 2018 NEWSLETTER:  •  DNA barcoding - progress on building an aquatic database to monitor the health of ecosystem biodiversity  •  Fish habitat summary - GBF assisted on the 32-month Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council’s project to survey eight tributaries within the Parry Sound District in order to prioritize remedial action for the habitats of declining fish populations EDUCATION GBF is dedicated to enhancing public appre- ciation for the environment and educating the public and governments regarding environ- mental protection, conservation, the safety and preservation of the water and the natural features of Georgian Bay. For recent topics and updates visit: , join our email list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and lnstagram.